The ceremony of pouring water to dedicate merit to the dead people

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Question and Answer for Life
By the Most Ven. Phrabhavanaviriyakhun
Edited from the Luang Phaw Answers the Questions program broadcasting on DMC

Questions:  When someone had made merit but he didn’t do the ceremony of pouring water to dedicate the merit to the dead people, would the dead ones receive the merit?

Answers:  It is rather true because the ceremony of pouring water to dedicate merit is one way to express our intention to transfer merit to the dead people we specified.  So if we don’t specify the receivers or dedicate merit, they will not get the merit certainly.
    Once in the Buddha’s Time, King Pimpisarn had made merit and did not dedicate his merit to anyone at all.  But there were some hungry ghosts waiting for his transferred merit.  In the very, very long time ago, the hungry ghosts had been the King Pimpisarn’s relatives in a previous lifetime, but they cheated the alms which people had prepared to offer to the monks.  So, when they passed away, they were reborn as the hungry ghosts.  They had troubled for a long time because of hunger and waited for King Pimpisarn to make merit and dedicate his merit to them.  Unfortunately that King Pimpisarn never did it after making merit at all, so they still were the hungry ghosts who were waiting for the dedicated merit and not reborn in the better realms.

One day, King Pimpisarn had built the Veruvan Monastery and offered it to the monks.  He did not dedicate his merit to anyone as usual.  However, this merit was so special because it was the extremely big merit and the news of Veruvan Monastery building was the talk of the angels and ghosts.  So these hungry ghosts also knew about it and were waiting for this merit as well.  When they did not receive it as they had expected, they decided to protest.
    At that night, these hungry ghosts went to scream around the palace loudly.  Some of them appeared before the king.  When the king saw and heard like that, he was shock and questioned that what happened.  Did they want to defeat his kingdom or kill him? So, on the next day, the king went to ask the Lord Buddha about the happening.

    The Lord Buddha told the king that these hungry ghosts were the king’s relatives in the previous lifetime since very long time ago.  They did not want to hurt the king but they wanted him to make merit and dedicate to them.  When the king made merit again, the king should dedicate some merit to them as well.

    So, King Pimpisarn decided to make the big merit again on the following day and dedicated his merit to the hungry ghosts.  When the ghosts rejoiced the king’s merit, they received the merit at once and changed their lives from the hungry ghosts to be the better ones immediately.  Some were reborn as the human beings and some were reborn to be the celestial beings.

    This is an example of this ceremony.  So when you make merit any time, don’t forget to do the ceremony of pouring water to dedicate merit to the dead people.  It is the good thing only and nothing bad at all.


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